When we first covered the SOCCKET power-generating soccer ball
back in 2010, the concept was in the prototype stages of development. Since then, the ex-Harvard University team responsible for the design has launched the for-profit social enterprise company Uncharted Play, filed patents for the SOCCKET’s kinetic energy-capturing technology and, more recently, has launched a SOCCKET Kickstarter campaign.
"Create electricity, just by walking" is an evocative statement, and one which surely warrants some attention in these eco-efficient times when the need to seek alternative energy sources is well understood. Pavegen
– a system for harvesting kinetic energy from foot traffic, and which the catchy soundbite belongs to – is now being put forward for crowd-funding through Kickstarter with the aim of raising enough money to fund two school projects, one in the U.S. and one in the U.K.
Systems that convert kinetic energy into electric energy have made great strides in recent times, from mobile phone charging bicycle dynamos
to tiles that turn footsteps into electrical energy
. Recently researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have come up with what they believe is a more efficient approach – a self-charging power cell that directly converts mechanical energy to chemical energy and stores the power for release as an electrical current.
Despite offering numerous advantages over its rotating brethren, most notably the ability to reach the high-speed winds found at higher altitudes, kite-based energy systems are yet to really get off the ground in a meaningful way. But things are looking up. Earlier this year, NASA revealed
it is investigating ways to improve the aerodynamics and autonomous flight control of kites for power generation applications, and now Berlin-based wind energy developer NTS GmbH has teamed with the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (IPA) to make their own kite energy system concept a reality.
We’ve seen plenty of iPhone and iPad chargers that harness power from eco-friendly sources such as wind
), but Zurich-based Micasa Lab has turned to a different, relatively (but not completely
) untapped energy source to keep the juice flowing in iOS devices – the rocking chair. But the iRock Rocking Chair doesn’t just use the power generated via rocking back and forth to charge iOS devices, it also powers speakers built into the chair’s backrest.
Like Honda’s Stride Walking Assist
and the ReWalk
, the Kickstart from Cadence Biomedical is designed to help improve the gait of people who have difficulty walking and help them regain their mobility and independence. But unlike its robotic cousins that are powered by weighty rechargeable batteries, the Kickstart is able to ditch the batteries altogether because it has no motors to power. Instead, it is purely mechanical and provides assistance by storing and releasing kinetic energy generated by a person when walking.
Jupiter is a major player in protecting the Earth from impact events, and has been for billions of years. Between comets and asteroids impacting on Jupiter and being flung into the Sun or out of the Solar System entirely, Jupiter's enormous gravitational field has removed the greater proportion of debris left-over from the formation of the Solar System. Jupiter has again been caught in the act of attracting and eating dangerous space rocks—this time in simultaneous observations by two amateur astronomers.
EcoXPower by EcoXGear is another take on a concept which most Gizmag readers will be familiar with: harnessing the kinetic energy produced while one pedals a bicycle in order to convert it into electricity and charge a smartphone or similar device. Though we’ve covered several products of this nature in the past, such as Nokia's Bicycle Charger Kit
, Dahon's BioLogic ReeCharge
, and the PedalPower+
, the EcoXPower sets itself apart by charging your smartphone or GPS and
providing electricity to front and rear lights at the same time.
K-TOR has added a new portable charging device to its lineup. The new Power Box puts your legs to work toward converting kinetic energy to electricity. Use it enough and you might just get your weekly workout. It is quite simply a pedal-powered generator equipped with a dual-pronged outlet so that you can plug in an AC adapter and charge your device directly from your leg power. The box works for devices rated 20W and below, including low-power netbooks, tablets, smartphones, video devices and portable game systems.
Last month U.S. Military, government and industry officials witnessed a demonstration of a new missile warhead casing material at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) in Dahlgren, Virginia. The material, known as High-Density Reactive Material (HDRM), is the result of collaboration between the Office of Naval Research (ONR), NSWC Dahlgren and NSWC Indian Head Divisioncan and can be employed within existing designs, but with added destructive power.